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Bill Oelrich

Would you rather rent or own recreational land?

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I am curious about how the outdoor crowd feels about recreational land. I used to think ownership was the only way to go for a cabin on the lake, hunting land, etc, but I have changed my tune over the years. We sold the lake cabin and now prefer to hit resorts when we head north.

Which situation would you rather have prefer: 1) own 120 acres of land 2) own a cabin on a lake next close to whatever public land you like to hunt/explore 3) rent 10 to 15 acres on a logging/forest road inside of one our state forests? 4) rent a cabin on a lake close to whatever public land you like to hunt/explore 5) rent a small piece on lake where you could camp close to whatever public land you like to hunt/explore or 6) rent 160 acres you have all to your hunting party?

The kind of rentals I am talking about are long-term (1 year) so it seems a little more like ownership for comparison reasons. How often would you go to the property?

What is you choice? Just curious how people feel.

Thanks, Bill

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I did the potlatch thing for a few years, been awhile though. I lease, but would like to buy if i can find the right piece of land.

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Thanks to the farmers non of us normal people will ever own 120 acrs of land, but to me thats the ultimate. Hard to do what tou want with food plots and shooting lanes or what ever on leased land.

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...1) own 120 acres of land 2) own a cabin on a lake next close to whatever public land you like to hunt/explore 3) rent 10 to 15 acres on a logging/forest road inside of one our state forests? 4) rent a cabin on a lake close to whatever public land you like to hunt/explore 5) rent a small piece on lake where you could camp close to whatever public land you like to hunt/explore or 6) rent 160 acres you have all to your hunting party?...

I want to own land, option 1. Sure there are expenses and headaches involved, but if I want to cut some trees or put in a garden I need to own the land.

That being said, I am very thankful to have public land to hunt. It ain't all that bad.

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I would prefer to own land.

Rent/lease is less expensive but not a sure thing in the long term. I don't like change, so hunting the same parcel for years is what I would prefer. Probably why i have been hunting the same parcel of public land since '92.

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Depends totally on what is important to you/your family. Personally, My family used to own 5 acres on a beautiful lake in Itasca County. We did a lot of hunting and fishing around there, and growing up I had the time of my life there. Hunting is very important to us, and then, 1) neighbors started to die, land chunked up and sold 2) public land timber harvested heavily, 3) neighbors started to harvest timber heavily 4) private access spots dried up. Lot of public land still around, but you get the point. Now my brother and I relocated and along with some friends purchased 160 acres of woods/ag a couple hours further south. We have always wanted to get into land/deer management, and are now actively planting trees, food plots, ag, etc, and establishing harvest rules. Fun to be more interactive and involved. For us that's important and not possible renting a cabin or leasing land. So for me, the answer is own larger tract. But again, totally dependent on the needs of you and your family.

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I have done both when it comes to hunting property and I will say this nothing beats owning your own plot of property and the reason I say this in my situation we leased a real nice chunk of land for deer hunting and it was taken away with the stroke of a pen and nothing we could do about it. The land owner went through a messy divorce and lost the land we leased and the we were stuck holding the empty bag.

I also had owned a cabin just off of Mille Lacs and I think that was the way to go also but it was a lot of work, But worth every ounce of sweat we poured into it.

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Thanks to the farmers non of us normal people will ever own 120 acrs of land, but to me thats the ultimate. Hard to do what tou want with food plots and shooting lanes or what ever on leased land.

Not true I bought 126 last April for $1,000 per acre, and that included 90 tillable. If you are serious enough to buy you just have to keep looking everyday almost because the great deals will get sold really quick.

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Thanks for the input so far. I posted this reply on another forum:

For me the cost of entry now days is too great. I wish, like we all do, that I could turn the clock to when you could buy a piece for a price you can justify with that cost/benefit equation. My grandfather bought 96 acres in 1965 for $2000. The land next to us just sold for 1500/acre. That puts hers at roughly 150,000 to buy now. Decent appreciation over 50 years. But my grandmother has been paying taxes to the tune of at least $1000 for that last 20 years, plus the first thirty years. That doesn't count the interest paid if you finance and then subtracting capital gains. Interest of course is the big drain and I don't trust that the government will keep that mortgage interest deduction in place. So do you really make money? I can't convince myself of that anymore. We sold our cabin because once you added all the holding cost and maintenance and then divided it by the number of times we went up there, it is less to go to resorts and not do any work.

I recently read Warren Buffets letter to his shareholders (don't ask why, I am not a financial mind) and this line was on the first page: "Over the last 48 years (that is, since present management took over), book value has grown from $19 to $114,214, a rate of 19.7% compounded annually." That is if you owned one of his Class A stocks, just one.

Made me go Hummmm. Thanks for the input.

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Out of those options I'd prefer to own a little cabin on a lake near lots of public land. Even if I could afford (and I can't) to buy private hunting land, I don't think I would. I could never limit myself to only being able to hunt an 80 or 120 acre chunk of land. I like being able to roam the huge expanses of public land up north and not need to worry about boundaries. Right now I have over 1,000 acres of public land that nobody else hunts, surrounded by endless country that is just lightly hunted, so it's just like owning my own private land with the exception that I can't plant food plots or cut shooting lanes, and the entire state shares the taxes with me.

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This is like asking what type of car should I buy. Like many said it is based on your families uses of recreational land. There are pros and cons to both.

Me personally I like to rent via going to a resort to fish, or camp out on public land close to a lake I am fishing. I would not be interested in owning a lake cabin or lot.

I lean more towards owning hunting land for many of the reasons already listed. I owned a 20 acre parcel that bordered 240 acres of tax forfeit land. I really liked that, until a few neighboring pieces sold and other hunters moved in and hunted the same tax forfeited land. I ended up selling my 20 with a deer shack on it for a nice profit (plus to owning).

I now own a 40 acre parcel, but I am limited to that 40 as it does not border public land (although there is public land close by). The 40 is larger than the 20 obviously, but it gets real small by Monday morning on opening deer weekend with a small hunting party on it. (my 20 bordering public land hunted much larger). Also the taxes could probably cover a lease or close to it. I do like playing on it though - selective harvest timber gave me some $, I put in a small pond, a clearing to camp on, an outhouse, trails, permanent deer stands, and this year I hope to put in food plots. I do enjoy being able to get away to the 40 and "play in the woods". I guess my perfect piece (realistically) would be a 40 - 80 bordering some public land.

If $ were not an issue then a large tract all to myself for hunting on a great fishing lake.

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Anyone who buys a cabin or hunting land as an investment is foolish. You will never get back all the hard work and $ you put into it. I bought 80 acres and built a cabin because I love to do it. I love building trails, stands and food plots. I enjoy harvesting firewood off my land to heat my home and my cabin and managing the forest. I take alot of pride in "MY" land and nobody can hunt in my spot or take it away. I too like to roam and my property butts up to over 15000 acres of public land with very little use on it, I would not buy property without it adjoining public land. I hunted potlatch land for years and lost my spots when it all sold in Pine & Carlton county, broke my heart. That won't happen again! grin

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Not always foolish, maybe nowaday it is for sure, but back in the day like my uncle who got bought out by an airport, he cashed in heavily, sure capital gains took a huge chunk, but he turned a monster profit.

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From a hunting land standpoint, I'll vouch that there's nothing like owning your own parcel of land. Did the lease thing for many years and besides not being able to do exactly what you'd like, on all occasions it was just a matter of time before it had to end for one reason or the other. Now own our own chunk of land and it's an absolute breath of fresh air. I don't have the thoughts of "what did the landowner change now" when I drive up. I have 100% control and that's a big plus for me personally.

Now...a cabin on a lake is somewhat different for me and breaks down like this. I have A LOT of things going on at home. Work, my own maintenance and so on and so forth in the summer. If I had to choose, I'd pick the option to rent a cabin so that I can get up there, dump in the boat and fish, lay back and not have to worry about anything.

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If I had to pick just one, of course I would pick owning a decent tract of land that butted up to a lake. Best of both worlds!!! I would love to have a piece of hunting land of my own. We currently hunt public and I don't have huge complaints, but the dangers of not knowing who you are huting by and not knowing who is where and vice versa, makes me NOT want to bring my kids into that kind of scenario. My oldest is a few years away from being able to hunt and I have no interest in taking him out on public ground, basically for safety purposes. I have taken him with on my Father-in-laws farm and we have shot a few deer, but hunting the fields isn't the same for me as hunting the woods. I would love to have a 120 acre chunk, with a basic 30 x 40 cabin, in a lakes area. A great deer camp. A great spot to recreate and spend time with family and friends and all close to great lakes for fishing. If I could pick, it would be the Perham area or Cass Lake area. I've done the weekend thing, the full week thing, etc at resorts. Great to just show up and enjoy, but nothing like the feeling of owning a place. My parents bought a small cabin a few years ago and no matter what happens in the future, my kids will never forget it. All the times spent up there have been what they talk about most.

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Land may not be the highest yielding investments you can make, but it is one of the safest investments you can make. Plus there are very few investments you can gain so much enjoyment from. The only problem with using it a an investment is that you won't want to sell it when you retire, so it should just be part of your investment portfolio. So far the farm land I've purchased has performed better than the money I've stuck into the stock market for the last 20 years.

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My wife and I love to camp. We always went to campgrounds on lake so we could fish. It got harder and harder to find resorts or campgrounds, even tougher if we decided at the last minute. We bought 40 acres close to many lakes. The taxes are cheaper than on a lake. I can hunt the 40 or go to public land close by. A win-win for us.

Rockin' Randy

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